In case you missed it yesterday, Russian hockey insider Igor Eronko reported on star goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and his reasons for leaving the Columbus Blue Jackets for the Florida Panthers as an unrestricted free agent.
In Bobrovsky’s own words there was “no chance” he’d sign an extension with Columbus after how he was treated.
Bobrovsky had mentioned as well that there were “conflicts” on the team, but didn’t specifically mention head coach John Tortorella.
Again from Eronko:
Now though, Goalie Bob is opening up a bit more about how he was treated in Columbus and how Tortorella played a major factor in the goaltender’s decision to leave.
Check out these quotes from Bobrovsky translated from Russian for Sport24:
“I told the management after the 2017-18 season that I wouldn’t stay at the club, they didn’t react to that,” said the goaltender. “On the contrary, they began to talk more about contract extension. Of course, you might think why I created the problem for myself by informing everyone in advance about the solution. But, on the other hand, the person I am, I honestly informed about my plans and did not play any backstage games. It would be harder for me to look in the mirror if I told everyone that I would stay first, and at the end I was leaving.”
“Torts has his advantages and disadvantages,” said Bobrovksy. “He is what he is… impulsive. He says what he thinks. In his position, he behaves as he considers correct. There were moments when, in the regular season, he praised. There were moments when he criticized. He could do it at a press conference or in the locker room with the team. I did not agree with his opinion and because of this we often had cheerful conversations on high tones.”
Bobrovsky made sure to praise his former head coach though. After all, the Blue Jackets were mostly a laughing stock before Torts arrived in 2015.
“But he has many pluses too. The team started to play better after his arrival. He installed discipline. He demanded the maximum from each player. We started to make the playoffs regularly. He’s also a skilled psychologist and a very strong motivator.”
Any way you look at it, it's hard not to feel like the Blue Jackets shot themselves in the foot with regards to Bobrovsky. Sure, he made the decision to leave on his own... but when the team decided that they weren't going to support him... well what else was there to do?